Letters from the Editor: Different Types of Editors

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Welcome back to our Letters from the Editor series! The following blog post is by Jennifer DiDomenico, the Editorial Director for Social Sciences at UTP.

At University of Toronto Press, we strive to de-mystify the scholarly publishing process and make the steps toward publication transparent for our authors and those interested in submitting proposals for consideration. One item which often causes confusion is the number of people who work on a book with “editor” in their title – what is each person’s role and how does it contribute to the process and final product? I provide a quick guide below:

  • Acquisitions Editor: The AE is typically an author’s first point of contact at the press.  Acquisitions editors are responsible for particular disciplines and are active at academic conferences and on campus to understand the current state of scholarship and new developments in the fields in which they work. Acquisitions editors evaluate proposal and manuscript submissions, coordinate the peer review process, offer advice on structure and revisions, and bring projects forward to the publishing committee and Manuscript Review Committee (editorial board) for formal consideration. We work closely with the author until their final manuscript has been accepted and all elements such as artwork and permissions are in place. Then we hand over the manuscript to a managing editor, who oversees the next part of the process.
  • Managing Editor: At UTP, a managing editor coordinates the copyediting and typesetting process. The managing editor serves as the primary point of contact once a book has been formally handed over by the acquisitions editor and works closely with authors, freelance copyeditors, and staff in production to ensure the book is manufactured on time and to specification. In addition to preparing the book to go to the printer, the managing editor also gets the ebook versions ready for release.
  • Copyeditor: The managing editor supervises the work of a copyeditor, whose role is to correct grammatical errors, clarify areas of ambiguity, and ensure that a manuscript conforms to house style. The copyeditor’s corrections and queries are sent to the author for input and vetting before the book is typeset.
  • Substantive or Developmental Editors: Sometimes, authors require additional support for their book projects and work with a substantive or developmental editor before submitting their manuscript to UTP (most frequently with trade-oriented titles). Substantive and developmental editors assist with a variety of tasks, from line editing to rewriting. When working with a substantive or developmental editor it is important for an author to be clear about what level of editorial support he or she is seeking.

I hope this provided some clarity regarding the different types of editors and the role they play in the book publishing process!


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